Kilifi, KENYA: Kilifi North Member of Parliament and gubernatorial aspirant Gideon Mung’aro has promised to start up a multi-billion coconut processing factory in Kaloleni, if elected governor in August.
Speaking on Tuesday at Mwijo, Viragoni, Kinarani and Mtsengo villages in Kayafungo and Mwanamwinga wards respectively, Mung’aro said it is sad to see people languishing in poverty despite having a wealth of palm trees.
The legislator was accompanied by his running mate, Kenneth Kamto who is the current Kilifi County Deputy governor.
“The Agriculture sector is devolved and almost all its resources lay in the hands of the county government,” said Mung’aro.
“With many coconut trees in this region, the county failed to utilize the opportunity to set up a coconut processing factory in Kaloleni to boost your lives. I promise you to take it seriously and start it up to ensure none of you suffer from hunger,” he said.
He said he would invest at least Sh. 5 billion towards the establishment of the factory that would provide direct employment for more than 300 locals and benefit more than 5,000 people indirectly.
“In my manifesto, I have given much attention to Agri-business that would improve the livelihoods of the locals. I will make sure that the coconut tree becomes more beneficial to the locals, unlike now where the tree looks more of a curse than a blessing to the community in Kaloleni and the entire Kilifi County,” he said.
The upper part of Kaloleni that stretches to as far as Chilulu, Chanagande, Challani has many coconut trees that have grown in the area.
Due to poor sensitization and lack of proper policies on the benefit of the crop, the locals have only managed to benefit from few by-products, mainly the coconut fruits, and the palm wine.
However, Kamto slammed sitting governor Amason Kingi saying he has failed to counter corruption in the county.
He said he has been receiving complaints from locals and small entrepreneurs who cry foul over giving out bribes to get tenders or payment processes to carry on.
“I differed with Governor Amason Kingi after I questioned him on a number of corrupt activities that were going on under his watch,” said Kamto.
“When I could not absorb it anymore, I told him (Governor Kingi) to his face and that’s where our flagrancy started. I did this because I was not happy that money meant to benefit the people of Kilifi was ending up in the pockets of few well-connected people to the Governor,” said Mr Kamto.